'We won't settle until legal binding agreement is reached on Ethiopian Dam': Sudanese irrigation official



Sun, 11 Jul 2021 - 03:28 GMT


Sun, 11 Jul 2021 - 03:28 GMT

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Reuters

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Reuters

CAIRO – 11 July 2021: Deputy Chairman of the Sudanese Water Resources Agency Hassan Abou El Beshr stated Sunday in a video posted on Facebook that the ministry will not settle until a legal binding agreement is reached on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).


The official added that the water resources issue is influenced by the political stances of regional and international players.  


Head of the African Program at Egypt's Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amani El Tawil said in a phone-in Friday that Ethiopia aims for selling Nile water and that is one of the reasons behind its intransigence about not signing a legal binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan on the filling and operation of the GERD.


The renowned researcher in African affairs described the GERD crisis as an "unprecedented challenge" to the existence of Egypt. She pointed out that Ethiopia's stance stems from the support of some international and regional players, including certain states in the Arab Gulf.

The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].


Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement, while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.


In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.


In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.


Washington had brokered tripartite negotiations among the three countries, in the presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020.


During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during the drought and prolonged drought; however, an agreement was not sealed.


Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.


On July 5, Ethiopia officially informed Egypt and Sudan that the second filling has begun, which is not expected to exceed four billion cubic meters, as indicated by experts.


The first filling was carried out in 2020 with 4.9 billion cubic meters, and there was an intention to do the second filling with 13.5 billion cubic meters but that is not possible for technical reasons



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